In our era of technology and constant developments in IT, it would make sense to make good use of the opportunities to study online as more and more useful courses become available to us. MOOCs (massive open online courses) from top universities are at our disposal, often free of charge, but why are some people still hesitant about spending their time on those courses? There must be some objective reasons. Online learning is an easy and comfortable way to obtain knowledge in almost any discipline from social sciences to humanities and beyond to photography and cooking. It provides a great alternative to brick-and-mortar institutions, especially for those of us unable to afford the money or time to take traditional courses. Let’s look into the advantages and disadvantages of online learning more closely.
Whilst there is a long-standing stereotype that effective learning can solely be provided by direct instruction, online courses have started to make more and more ground with companies starting to recognize their applicability. It goes without saying that a lot more self-discipline and determination is required to complete such a course, but as students are gradually prepared to take more responsibility for their work throughout their academic careers anyway, this should not pose a great obstacle. Your motivation is key. It is not unheard of to come across disorganized students at traditional universities, thus it all depends on the motivation of the student. What is certain is the fact that there is considerably more flexibility as to when courses can be taken. If you prefer to work after midnight, you cannot attend lectures and classes at that time, but you can take on courses on your computer. There are still usually deadlines, but they are designed not to stress students out, but rather motivate to complete the course. Students can proceed at their own pace by spreading the studies over any period of time they prefer. This leaves enough time to pursue other interests and hobbies in life.
Most importantly, however, online learning is often available to all those willing to develop completely free, thus not discriminating against anyone. This goes along with the global idea of making education available universally, regardless of background, gender, race or any other factors. What’s not to like about it?
Online learning offers a great way of boosting self-motivation by advancing in many fields of interest, instead of having to commit to several subjects, which is the case at traditional schools. Whilst it can be difficult to obtain the practical experience through online learning, all the theoretical materials are readily available for your studies. It can be overwhelming! If you possess enough motivation, it is conceivable you will be able to find where to apply newly gained knowledge. It is ultimately up to you!
Universal access to study materials is a great advantage of online courses. Traditional universities are slowly progressing in this aspect too, but they are no competition for courses that were designed to be universally available from scratch. All that is required is an internet connection, however, some courses are even available offline.
The greatest benefit of such study is the opportunity for students to develop self-discipline and a sense of responsibility, which is very applicable to many aspects of post-academic life.
There are some known disadvantages too. Lack of human interaction is one of the main ones, although some courses do offer opportunities to communicate with others and discuss materials and exercises through forums and chats. Some argue that a person can develop best in a small group through making friends, growing patience, combating disappointment and competing. This competition can be very stimulating and students can benefit from it. There are little online courses can offer in this aspect, but there are ways of introducing this element for instance, by encouraging and motivating highest achieving students on assessments. If there are assignments you struggle to complete, it is a sound idea to entrust the task to the best online writing service, on which you can rely to produce an outstanding piece of writing. Top marks for you!
Even if forums and discussion groups are created, if thousands try to participate at once, their effectiveness is questionable.
Once again, subjects presupposing abundant practice can seldom be taught to an acceptable standard online. This practice can only be made available in the real world. This will cost money, but usually still less than potential simulations that can be developed to aid online learning. Would you be willing to pay for extra practice?
Currently, online learning should be regarded as supplementary and an extension of traditional learning because new information is digested better when conveyed through direct human contact. Peer contact allows for the formation of indispensable soft skills that cannot be fostered via a computer.